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Pier Guidi: Ferrari LMH Testing “Going in Right Direction”

Alessandro Pier Guidi updates on Ferrari LMH testing progress as mileage increases…

Photo: MPS Agency

Ferrari factory driver Alessandro Pier Guidi feels that development of the manufacturer’s LMH car is “going in the right direction” as its track testing program moves along.

The hybrid-powered Ferrari LMH has undergone several track tests since its initial series of rollouts at Fiorano in July. It most recently visited Portimao and has now passed the 10,000 km (6,213 miles) mark in total running, according to the manufacturer.

Pier Guidi, who joined for the shakedown runs as well as visits to Imola, Barcelona and Portimao, told Sportscar365 that “every test is better” for the new car, which will arrive 50 years after Ferrari’s last official factory participation in top-level sports car racing.

Ferrari is aiming to debut its Hypercar-class machine at next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring in March, while a public debut has been set for the end of this month during the Finali Mondiali event at Imola.

“We are going in the right direction,” said Pier Guidi. “We have more or less improved every time since the beginning [and] we have improved quite quickly.

“Every test is better, and this is very important for us because time is short. The car will race in March. We also have to consider that everything will be shipped before, because it’s in the U.S.

“But so far, we are going as planned. For us, it’s good to have the possibility to drive this car. Even if [the drivers] don’t know yet if we will race the car or not, we try to be as prepared as we can.

“The car is complicated with a lot of things to manage, so time in the car is effort for us, the car and the engineers. We are going all together: the car, teams, engineers, myself and the other drivers involved.

“Personally, I am quite happy. We still have some tests in front of us, and I’m confident that we can improve a lot.”

Commenting on the driving experience, two-time WEC GTE champion Pier Guidi said that he has enjoyed adapting to the electric hybrid system, which is a new technology for him.

The manufacturer has been tight-lipped on the technical details of its LMH challenger, with only the four-wheel-drive hybrid aspect confirmed so far.

“This kind of four-wheel-drive, even if it’s at very high speed, is nice,” Pier Guidi reported.

“I expected to feel more but it’s very well-integrated. The balance is quite positive and constant, even when you change from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive.

“It’s just the settings that are more complicated. I don’t think the driving style is much different. There is the normal setup as you always did with every car, plus all the software.

“We have to learn and improve this and be able to approach it as best as we can, because it’s all performance in the end. The software is much more involved, and it’s a different level of involvement on the software control compared to GTE.

“Even if [GTE] is already a very high level, this is another step forward.”

According to Pier Guidi, the “trickiest thing” about the pre-homologation testing program is that Ferrari is unable to measure itself against its Hypercar rivals.

“Until the first race, you don’t know your performance,” he said.

“It is important, at least, to be reliable. And then improve your performance as much as you can. Then you just discover [at] the first race which manufacturer did the best job.

“At the moment, we are quite happy for the mileage. We are testing every day of every test. But for sure, we will have to do some endurance tests. And then we will see.

“I think everything is going as planned. This is very important because all the things involved in this car are very complicated.

“Being able to follow the plan is not easy. So far we are doing it, so this is quite positive.”

Drivers Have “Time for Ourselves” to Learn Car

Ferrari has called upon its factory GT driving roster — including its WEC lineup of Pier Guidi, James Calado, Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco — to develop the LMH, which is being tested in unison with the manufacturer’s new GT3 car based on the 296.

According to Pier Guidi, each driver has been able to get acquainted with the LMH despite Ferrari’s testing program having nine core members.

“We split the time more or less equally, but we have time for ourselves,” he explained.

“This is important because, even if we don’t know who will drive the car [in races], we all feel involved in the same way.

“This is important to keep us all together and try to maximize all the feedback.

“Everyone has a decent time to drive the car so he can report his feedback, and we can collect feedback from many driving styles and levels of experience.

“We try to put it all together and improve as quickly as we can.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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